Of course, originally there was no distinction - all literate, thinking people were
members of a church - there was no secular education available to them*. Then a different
way of finding out was discovered - Scientific method.
The invention of Scientific method has been attributed to various people including
Galileo, who was condemned to house arrest by ‘infallible’ Pope Urban VIII for saying
the Earth went round the Sun. Interestingly, three hundred years later, ‘infallible’
Pope John Paul II admitted that the church had made a mistake about Galileo, but
he did not go so far as to apologise! (‘Infallibility’ applies in respect to the
church’s dogma not a Pope’s personal lifestyle - just as well for Pope Alexander
VI - see here)
Now we have Scientific establishments including the Royal Society and the Universities
so battle has been engaged! One of the great bones of contention is Darwin’s Theory
of Evolution. Some religious folk love to rubbish it saying, ‘It’s only a theory’.
They are using the word ‘theory’ in an ordinary language way where the meaning is
‘a proposal or supposition’. Scientists use ‘Theory’ in an entirely different way.
In Science a proposal or supposition is called a ‘Hypothesis’ and it is only after
it has accumulated enough supporting evidence to convince most of the world’s Scientists
that it becomes elevated to a Scientific Theory. I do wish the media would get this
right - it should be Grand Unification HYPOTHESIS not Grand Unification Theory. OK,
some scientists are just as guilty - slapped wrists!
Scientific Theories have to describe and explain the observed data and enable predictions
which are subsequently fulfilled. Darwinism has achieved this superbly - evolution
has been demonstrated to occur many times, most notably with MRSA, the ‘Hospital
Bug’ that has evolved resistance to antibiotics, or do you imagine that a, supposedly
good, God has created it recently to punish us? One of my friends died from that
- it’s not funny.
You wouldn’t say Newton’s Theory of Gravity was ‘only a theory’, would you?
* Strict Muslim societies still only educate boys and only in the Qu’ran
The above quote is readily misunderstood by Believers (Choosers) - they tend to focus
on what is, to them, the anomaly of a Scientist revealing that he doesn’t believe
in Science and they often suggest he should be sacked!
The point Prof. Hobson is actually making is that Science does not require belief.
It’s based on something much more powerful - evidence. We only resort to dubious
belief when we have no evidence. That’s why he says Science is our defence against
(falling into the trap of) belief.
Do you think a majority of world problems can be put down to the way belief is mistakenly
regarded to be important?
“I don’t believe
in Science. Science
is our defence
J. Allan Hobson,
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical
Why is there a Conflict?
Well, they are two philosophies that make very unhappy bedfellows. A Scientist’s
style of thinking is a receptive mode: the real world sends them sensory stimuli
which they receive as observations.
Whereas, given that even religious leaders accept there is no evidence for the existence
of god, a believer’s (choosers) style of thinking must be in transmit mode: I want
to feel comforted and looked after, therefore I wish there to be a god.
Can these two opposing styles, transmit and receive, cohabit in one brain simultaneously?